, JUJA, Kenya, May 19 – Former CID director Karanja Gatiba was laid to rest at his Juja home on Wednesday in an emotional ceremony that was attended by thousands of mourners, including senior police officers and government officials.
Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Internal Security Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode and his Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia represented the government while the police was led at the burial by Commissioner Mathew Iteere.
All Provincial Police chiefs and formation commanders as well as district and divisional representatives were also present in their ceremonial attire.
They include Francis Okonya (Deputy Commissioner), Julius Ndegwa (Operations Director), Peter Eregai (Deputy CID director), Peter Saiya (GSU Commandant) Bakari Jambeni (in-charge Logistics), Peter Kavila (in-charge training) and Jonathan Kosgey who heads the reforms department.
Provincial police chiefs present included King’ori Mwangi (Western), Francis Munyambu (Rift Valley), Njue Njagi (Nyanza), Antony Kibuchi (Nairobi) and Leo Nyongesa of the Coastal region.
All Provincial CID chiefs were also present at the burial.
“We are finding it hard to bear this loss; we have lost a hero in the police force,” Mr Munyambu said.
Mr Kenyatta and Internal Security PS Mr Kimemia said the government would stand with the family during the trying moment and pledged unspecified support for the family of the late Gatiba.
“This is a big loss to the government, the entire police force and the family as well. As a government we are going to support the family,” Mr Kimemia said.
He eulogised the late Gatiba as a “dedicated officer who steered the CID to great lengths and even made it acquire international standards due to their investigative skills.”
“He has left behind an investigative unit which is well established and a highly disciplined one,” Mr Kimemia said.
Mr Ojode on his part said: “It is difficult to bear the loss of a man who had dedicated more than 30 years to serve the country.”
Mr Iteere said the late Gatiba was “a personal friend and colleague in the force. We will all miss him because he has left a huge gap in the police department.”
The late Gatiba’s remains were ferried from the Lee Funeral Home in a convoy of more than 50 vehicles to his Juja home, some 12 kilometers from the Thika highway highway, where the burial and prayers were held.
His remains were carried by seven pall bearers – all senior officers of the rank of Senior Deputy Commissioner of Police II.
They include Messrs Jambeni, Saiya, Okonya, Ndegwa, Eregai, Kavila and Kosgey.
The late Gatiba, 56, had served the force for 37 years and at the time of his death held the rank of Senior Deputy Commissioner of Police I. The only other officer in that rank is Mr Okonya who is the Principal Deputy to the Commissioner of Police.
After initial prayers at the burial site, there was a 21 gun salute by a detachment of police officers.
Dozens of mourners mainly close family members fainted on seeing the remains being lowered to the grave.
Prior to his appointment as the CID director in 2006, Mr Gatiba was the Provincial Police chief at the Coast Province where he had served for one year.
He had previously served at the Anti-Stock Theft Unit, Chief Instructor (Kiganjo), Traffic department and several other units in the force, including the Traffic department.
He passed away on May 8 at his Juja home having traveled from Nairobi to spend the weekend with his family. He left behind a widow and six children.
A postmortem report showed he suffered a Cardiac arrest caused by Hypertension complications.